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Finally reached EQ !

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Finally reached EQ !
Answer
10/17/13 11:42 AM
This was my 3rd 10 day retreat over a span of about 19 months. My 2nd retreat was especially tough as I cycled through the dukkha nanas, and Knowledge of Disgust was especially hard because I didn't know about nanas back then.

Anyways, this retreat I was able to sit for over an hour in almost all Vipassana sittings without moving anything (except straightening back) and it seemed effortless once I made up my mind. I began to see beauty in the simplest things and could appreciate things after a long time. All the problems I seemed to have in DN have vanished and the world is colorful once again, maybe even more than before I started. I can totally relate to the description in MTCB.

I noticed that meditation now seems to be happening on its own, along with the breath. All I have to do is sit down and sensations arise and pass on their own. There is definitely some forgetfulness here and there and it's kind of funny when it happens. When I first noticed that I may have crossed over DN I was pretty happy and excited about it. A week later that excitement has faded away and it's life as usual, just way easier than before. Thanks for all the help I received from this forum and it's kind hearted members (mostly!).

I need to decide what to do. Whether to move on to SE and begin the next cycle or stay here until I get done with some important life work (study, employment) as I am unsure what the consequences of SE will be.

I want to know :
1) With 2 hour daily practice, how long should it take to reach Fruition (Given that it took 19 months of irregular practice and 3 retreats to reach EQ)
2) Will I be more productive while I am in EQ or will I be more productive if I stop practicing after SE ? (I'm anxious of the next DN)
3) Is the 2nd DN cycle easier to deal with than the first, and do we face the same challenges in greater intensity ?
4) How long before I fall back into RO if I stop practicing completely?

I have a feeling that I can reach fruition without retreat if I keep a steady practice going. However:

5) I am concerned about the social consequences of SE. I would prefer to be in seclusion in that 1 week period when the will is particularly strong. I want to avoid any arguments or confrontations with anyone. So what do you suggest ?

Metta,

SN

RE: Finally reached EQ !
Answer
10/19/13 6:01 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Hi!

With 2 hour daily practice, how long should it take to reach Fruition

No clue. My first EQ was something like this: up to EQ and then falling 4-5-6 times; then EQ again, 2 hours walking, fruition after a few hours of daily life. NowI've been in EQ for a year and a half after having done the second DN. Verysubjective, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that you can pullit off with regular practice.

Will I be more productive while I am in EQ or will I be more productive if I stop practicing after SE ?

I'm pretty sure you'll be much more productive after SE.

Is the 2nd DN cycle easier to deal with than the first, and do we face the same challenges in greater intensity ?

My second one was incredibly easier, meaning, about two weeks against a few months, and much less intense. The second cycle being easier seems to be a common pattern.

How long before I fall back into RO if I stop practicing completely?

Actually, I'm quite surprised that you are not reporting oscillating back and forth already. However, not long.

I have a feeling that I can reach fruition without retreat if I keep a steady practice going

So, my suggestion is to continue; thesekind of feelings in my experience have a tendency to make things come true.

Happy for you, BTW... bye!

RE: Finally reached EQ !
Answer
10/19/13 4:11 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
If you have reached EQ (which would seem a reasonable assumption given the amount of time you've been practising)...

And you're sure you're psychologically strong enough at the moment to cope with first path 'review' cycling (from what I've experienced and read this can be one of the hairiest stages of the whole thing - although the data on this is sadly very limited)

Then I'd advise starting to note Shinzen Young's 'gone' when you notice any sensation disappear. This is particularly easy on the sound trail of a passing car for instance.

From my experience, and again from what I've read, this seems to 'incline the mind' towards a fruition. (Birdsong is also particularly useful for this...)

Then, if you get SE, start using Shinzen's Focus Out (noting touch, sight, sound) at every moment you remember to do so in daily life in addition to sitting. Do it until it becomes a hobby and then an instinct. And then second path won't be far off (from what I understand, it seems to be shorter than the others, but again the data is very sketchy and anecdotal...)

Nice work! (but only proceed if you're sure you want to permanently change the relationship between your 'self' and 'the world'...) ;)

In my experience, cycling seems to have got less intense after first path review, but again, having spent hours researching this, we just don't know at this stage....

RE: Finally reached EQ !
Answer
10/20/13 2:25 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Thanks for all your responses.

Before my last retreat I was indeed oscillating between a weaker form of this Eq and RO. Since then this state seems to have more or less stabilized.

I am not at all excited about SE or even the next A&P or anything else.

The particular advice about noting "gone" as sensations disappear is very similar to realizing annica while observing sensations in U Ba Khin/Goenka Body Scanning technique.

Regardless, I will carry on a practice of 1-2 hours meditation and 1-2 hours contemplation along with passive awareness wherever possible. When I feel I have the psychological preparedness to make the leap, I'll intensify the practice and let dharma do the rest.

On a side note, during the last retreat I noticed that our psychological mindset/how we view our self (level of maturity, confidence, self adequacy, vulnerability etc) itself is a thought like construction that isn't real, and when we see this we can choose to ignore all inhibitions. I was able to see this during the last 3-4 days of a 10 day retreat and these are usually the hardest days for me mentally because of the constant 7 day build up of awareness upon awareness.

Metta,

SN

RE: Finally reached EQ !
Answer
10/24/13 12:17 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
You do not choose to "move on" to stream entry any more than you chose to move on from the dark night. When conditions are right, it will happen on its own accord. If you stop practicing altogether, which there is absolutely no reason to do, you will likely continue to cycle between the dark night and equanimity. That's no fun.

Post-path review is a wonderful time, so your worry about getting into arguments because of stream entry doesn't make much sense to me (unless you start proselytizing and talking about your super awesome enlightenment.) I have no idea what comment that review "one of the hairiest stages" is referring to.

*EDIT*: Also, you seem to think that getting stream entry will immediately launch you into the next cycle. That's not the case. Review typically lasts weeks or months.